'This has gone too far': San Franciscans call for change, solutions amid string of violent crimes 

The VP of Stop Crime SF says that change starts with putting pressure on public officials, like District Attorney Chesa Boudin.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The string of violent crimes in San Francisco has left many residents asking: What can be done to make the city safer?

Sarah Vorhaus, who was attacked at gunpoint in Russian Hill last month by three men who stole her puppy, is joining the chorus of people calling for change and solutions.

She said she would like to see more cameras and street lights around the city.

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"When my attack happened, immediately the next day I was out on the street with SFPD knocking on private citizen's doors with my face swollen shut, with my eye swollen shut," Vorhaus told ABC7 News through tears. "I had to ask private citizens for whatever footage they had because there aren't city cameras."

"Private citizen cameras are set up to protect and monitor people walking in their building, not the street," she added. "My crime happened on the street."

Joel Engardio is the Vice President of Stop Crime SF. He told ABC7 News that change starts with putting pressure on public officials, like District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

"We saw four cases this past month where the common thread was somebody was killed and the suspect had previously been arrested and released and had a long rap sheet," Engardio said. "And so something is not working with the criminal justice system. Somebody needs to intervene to make sure these violent offenders aren't reoffending."

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A hot-prowl burglary suspect in San Francisco not only confesses to his crimes on camera to his victim, but coupled with new data from the city, highlights the way District Attorney Chesa Boudin is handling repeat offender cases.

Others point to different policies, like Proposition 47, which in 2014 changed certain low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors. David E. Mastagni, a panel attorney representing the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), says the organization believes Prop 47 has played a role in San Francisco crime. He said he believes the law has served as "gateway" for more serious crimes.

"You have to balance, in my view, being fair with people, and recognizing people make mistakes and need rehabilitation, with consequences," Mastagni said. "You have to strike the right balance, and I think this has gone too far. I mean, there's no consequences."

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Engardio said he doesn't believe ending Prop 47 is the solution. "There is value in not overcrowding our prisons," he said, but added that he wants the money saved from prisons to be reinvested in the community.

"That money should be reinvested back into communities to make sure people aren't committing crimes in the first place," he added.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, on Tuesday, was asked whether she believed Prop 47 should be revisited. She didn't give a direct answer.

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"Regardless of a proposition, it's what we're working with," Breeds told reporters. "And, mostly, the goal is to make sure that people understand that they will be held accountable when they commit crimes in San Francisco."

But for many residents in San Francisco right now, it doesn't always feel that way.

"I left. I gave up on San Francisco," Vorhaus said. "I am so scared for all my friends who still live there. It's so bad."
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